Pro-Palestine protestors invade Fifa Congress

Pro-Palestine protestors interrupted Sepp Blatter’s speech at Friday’s Fifa Congress, calling for a “red card” for the organisation.

Incumbent president Blatter, who is expected to be voted in for a fifth term when the election is held at the Congress on Friday , was speaking when the protestors burst into the main conference hall at the Hallenstadion in Zurich.

While they did not create any physical problems, Blatter called on security to deal with the issue before moving on to commemorate the deaths of those in football over the past year. He then led a moment of silence to mark the 30th anniversary of the Heysel Stadium disaster which saw 39 people killed.

Protestors had dominated the scene outside the Hallenstadion as delegates arrived, with the deaths of migrant workers in Qatar one point of contention, while pro-Palestine groups called “Free football, Free Palestine”.

Palestinian officials recently asked for Israel to be suspended by Fifa for what it called “humiliating treatment at the border by relevant Israeli authorities” and “violent acts by Israeli security forces during football matches… under the authority of the Palestinian National Authority”.

But Blatter then met with Israeli officials and insisted: “We’ll promote a regular exchange between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities through a working group with the participation of Fifa that should meet on a monthly basis.

“As Fifa president, I do not see that a suspension of an association is a solution.”